Commissioner Fish Displays Nixon Impeachment Gavel in Office
September 27, 2019
Nick's father served in the U.S. House during Richard Nixon's impeachment inquiry. He played a pivotal role on the Judiciary Committee, supporting two of the three Articles of Impeachment. KATU News visited the Fish Office to learn more about that family history and a memento Commissioner Fish keeps in his office. You can read the story below or on KATU's website here.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Only three U.S. presidents have ever faced impeachment proceedings, and you can find a memento from one of those history-making events at Portland City Hall.
On Wednesday, City Commissioner Nick Fish spoke about a precious keepsake he got from his father, Hamilton Fish, who was a member of Congress during the Watergate scandal that ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
“In honor of my dad, it’s been one of the great joys of my life to have Peter Rodino’s gavel in my office at City Hall,” Fish said.
That gavel is a significant piece of U.S. history.
Rodino was the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which passed articles of impeachment against Nixon.
“I don’t know how many gavels the chairman used in the summer of 1974. There couldn’t be many of them,” Fish said.
He said Rodino gave the gavel to his father.
“I think he was deeply touched by the sign of respect,” Fish said.
Back then, U.S. Rep. Hamilton Fish was a junior member of the bipartisan panel that famously passed the articles of impeachment against Nixon. But before the House of Representatives could vote to impeach him, Nixon resigned.
“I was very proud of my dad for his work,” Fish said. “He’d always say the same thing: ‘I took an oath to support the Constitution. I’ll listen to the evidence, and I’ll vote my conscience.’”
Fish said lawmakers today would do well to follow that line of thinking in the months ahead.
“I hope that some of the examples that committee set in the summer of ’74, guide congressional actions now in the fall of 2019,” he said.
Rodino wrote a letter to Hamilton Fish when he gave him the gavel. Along with the gavel, Nick Fish also displays that letter, which reads: “Dear Ham: Since we have shared an extraordinary experience in our country’s history, I thought you might like, as a memento of those historic events, one of the gavels I used during the impeachment hearings. Warm Regards. Sincerely, Peter W. Rodino, Jr.”